Lisa Liel

Weaponizing the Hostages

When I think of the hostages, in particular of the women going through the hell that the Palestinians are surely inflicting on them, I want to lash out. I want to hurt someone. I can’t even think about it for long, because it hurts too much.

But I would never — ever — want to condemn other Israelis to the same nightmare in order to save them. More to the point, no responsible government should do so.

And the Kaplanistas — the useful idiots Ehud Barak has had marching in Tel Aviv since the last elections — know this. Those of them who are using their brains, that is.

What is the purpose of marching and demonstrating and screaming “Bring back the hostages!” Does anyone think for a moment that we aren’t doing everything we can to bring them back? Does anyone think that these demonstrations are helping in that effort? Does anyone think that these demonstrations are going to make the government try harder?

More to the point, does anyone think that these demonstrations are intended to make the government try harder?

They obviously aren’t. Even the simplest of the simple don’t think that. But if your friends ask you to come to demonstrate for the release of the hostages, and you know that if you decline, you’ll look like you don’t care about the hostages, what are you going to do? You’re going to get up, go out to Kaplan, and scream along with the rest of the Kaplanistas.

This is a no-lose scenario for Ehud Barak. If the hostages are released/rescued, he can claim that it was because of the pressure of the demonstrations, and say that Netanyahu is no leader, because he had to be pushed into saving our people. And if they aren’t, he can say that it’s all Netanyahu’s fault. That their blood — their suffering — is on his hands.

For a blackguard like Barak, this is perfection.

But it’s shameful.

The families of the hostages can be excused for wanting to do anything — everything — that anyone tells them will help. It’s their family members who are suffering unimaginable torture at the hands of those Barak wants to gift with a state.

But Binyamin Netanyahu is responsible to more than 134 Israelis. He’s responsible to all of us. He can’t act emotionally, as the families of the hostages are doing. It would be unforgivable if he did. And every single one of the Kaplanistas knows that this is true. But their real complaint, the real thing they’re demonstrating against, is that Netanyahu won the last election, and that he built a coalition with right wing and religious parties, rather than joining with the left.

I Blew It

In November 2022, I wrote an article in which I predicted, confidently, but incorrectly, that Netanyahu would join with the left. I didn’t think there was a chance in hell that he would actually go along with the will of the electorate. He’s never shown any willingness to stand against the world, or even against the left, in any real way.

I was wrong.

Netanyahu built a coalition with Betzalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir, who represent the sentiments of a growing part of the Israeli public, rather than with people like Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, who represent the sentiments of a dying worldview that is desperately trying to remain relevant in a country that no longer buys what they are selling.

And this infuriated the left. They’d grown used to the public voting for the right and getting the policies of the left. Just as I’d grown used to it. They were as shocked by Netanyahu’s choice of coalition partners as I was. But while I was pleasantly surprised, they saw it as the beginning of the end of the world. The beginning of the end of their world.

That’s what the Kaplanistas are demonstrating about. Not against judicial reform. Not for the release of the hostages. All of that is peripheral.

For all that, the demonstrations against judicial reform could be justified to some extent. The advocates of the reform put forward proposals that were as extreme as the current judicial junta, only instead of the judiciary having a veto over the Knesset and the government, their proposals would have given 100% power to the Knesset and the government. Yes, they thought the other side would respond with negotiations, and that they’d be able to meet somewhere in the middle, but they underestimated how scary their initial offer was to people on the left.

But the demonstrations for the return of the hostages? There is no justification for those at all. That is nothing but weaponization of the hostages and their plight for cynical political purposes. And while the funders and instigators like Ehud Barak have no shame, the people who go out to Kaplan and join in these demonstrations should be ashamed. Deeply ashamed.

About the Author
Lisa Liel lives in Karmiel with her family. She works as a programmer/developer, reads a lot, watches too much TV, does research in Bronze/Iron Age archaeology of the Middle East, and argues a lot on Facebook.
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